All About The Context

(This blog was originally published my Nathan Neighbour on November 2, 2015)

I am a bible guy.  I have two degrees in biblical theology and cherish my moments in the scriptures.  I love a good in-depth study of the scriptures – the history, Greek, Hebrew, commentaries, etc.  My worldview is primarily informed by the 66 books that make up the scriptures.  When it says it is God-breathed, alive, active and beneficial, I believe all of it.

With that said, I have had several interesting conversations with fellow believers in the last few weeks about how they hold the scriptures.  They sound something like this:

I’m all for that community and relationship stuff.  But what I really want is biblically sound teaching.

Somewhere along the line (probably around the enlightenment), we started seeing the bible more like a textbook.  Something to be studies to gain knowledge.  When we obtain said knowledge, we have then somehow spiritually arrived.  Knowledge = Deep Spirituality.  In fact, when people say that they want to go deep into the scriptures, 9 times out of 10, that means they want to obtain more knowledge about the bible.

That’s all great… if knowledge did equal a deeper spirituality.  But is simply isn’t the case.

The scriptures are not a means unto themselves.  They were not designed to be studied for their information.  Rather, the act more as an instruction manual.  A how-to guide.  And, a how-to guide primarily for relationships with both people and God.

Let me put it this way.  You would not go out and purchase a “guide to basketball”, do a deep inductive study and then walk away feeling accomplished.  You would read the guide, study, and then go play.  No one would say, “I’ve arrived!” after reading the guide with getting onto the court and begin engaging the information in the world.

If you want to know what it means to “go deep” in the scriptures, you needn’t look any further than the great commandment and commission.  Love deeply (both God and people) and help people live out the life-altering truth that comes with that love.  The question must be “how deep can I go in my love as a result of engaging the scriptures?”

Outside the context of relationship, the scriptures have no purpose.

So go study!  And then put on your shoes and go play the game!